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Learning to Fly - Lessons from the Condor


I was in the mystical land of Peru with a wonderful group of women on a tour designed as a spiritual quest of personal self-discovery. Today we were at the Temple of the Condor high in the Andes Mountains. The Andean Condor, with a wing span of 12 feet, is the largest flying land bird on earth. There are not many of them left in the wild but the Spirit of the Condor dwells in this ancient stone temple at Machu Picchu.


Jorge, our shaman guide, told us that today the Condor would teach us how to fly. Everyone assumed this would be a guided meditation until Jorge led the group to the Flying Rock on the side of the mountain and proclaimed, here we will fly with the Condor! As everyone gazed at an outcropping of rock sticking out into mid-air from the side of the mountain, high above the Sacred Urumbamba River in the valley below, I saw signs of panic on everyone’s face!

“I was well aware of what the Condor’s teaching was about… how to overcome your fear.”

I had been to the Flying Rock in Machu Picchu on previous trips to Peru so I was well aware of what the Condor’s teaching was about… how to overcome your fear. This fear of flying was about spreading your own wings and flying high, soaring to new personal heights in your own life. Fear of flying can keep us tethered in the same place, stuck in the same rut, never experiencing the exhilaration and freedom that spreading our wings and soaring high can bring us.
The Condor is the Sacred Spiritual bird in Andean cosmology, the messenger of the upper world. He soars at great heights and view’s the world from a lofty perspective, he sees the bigger picture and teaches us how to see with spiritual eyes. Andean Condors live high in the mountains, also ancient symbols of Spirit. Flying with the Condor is a lifting up of your Spirit, a time of action and salvation through linking the physical with the spiritual in powerful new ways.

“She sat quietly as he gave her two long beautiful Condor feathers, she now had her wings.”

Fear is an interesting teacher and immediately begins to tell us we can’t do it, better play it safe, don’t take a chance, don’t even try it, and don’t trust the process. Jorge took the hand of one of the women and helped her sit backward on the Flying Rock facing him. He encouraged her to face her fear as she tentatively moved out further onto the rock. She sat quietly as he gave her two long beautiful Condor feathers, she now had her wings.
Jorge had her close her eyes and lay back onto the rock with the feathers across her chest. I could see her begin to relax as she realized she was very safe and not going to fall.  He told her to open her arms and spread her feathered wings, then to move them up and down and begin to fly like the Condor. A slow smile spread across her face just from the pure pleasure of this feeling of freedom of simulated flight. Jorge then told her to open her eyes and see the world from a new perspective looking upside down. Now there was no fear only laughter and words like Wow, Awesome, this is Amazing! I could sense the feeling of pride she had in moving beyond her fear and allowing herself to spread her wings, open her heart and fly with the Condor.

Image by Jean Vella on Unsplash

As I watched each woman learn to fly, an ancient Hopi prophecy came to mind. When the Eagle of the North and the Condor of the South fly together, wing to wing, then starts the healing of the earth. I felt a sense of this happening now as we brought the Spirit of the Eagle from the North to join with the Spirit of the Condor of the south. In this moment, each woman who went out on the rock and allowed her Spirit to soar with the Condor was offering a healing to herself and our great Mother Earth.

As Jorge helped the last woman in our group inch out backward onto the rock, I felt a deep sense of sadness for her. She had been born without her left hand and would only be able to hold 1 feather. I saw her as a wounded bird, attempting to fly but struggling to do so with only 1 wing. This was to be “my personal and very powerful lesson” from the Condor about seeing limitations where none really existed.

She obviously didn’t see herself wounded in any way as she confidently told Jorge to tie the other Condor feather to her left arm. My eyes filled with tears as I realized this was exposing a deeper layer of my own set of beliefs about my personal limitations. With a beautiful Condor feather in her right hand and the other elegant feather tied to her left arm, she lay back onto the rock and began to move the feathers in great sweeping arches. She was flying with all of the energy, beauty, and grace of the magnificent Condor, showing me that the only limitations that keep us stuck are those we allow our mind to project.

“That day the Great Condor taught me how to take wing and soar above my own self-limiting beliefs.”

That day the Great Condor taught me how to take wing and soar above my own self-limiting beliefs. When I feel stuck in the muck of life, I visualize spreading my great feathered wings. I take a leap of faith and jump from the mountaintop. I feel the air currents lift me up as I soar in pure delight, knowing I do not fly alone. I am joined by the Great Condor of the south, we fly together, strong and free.